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Baby bottles of death: The update


A federal official this week told a Congressional committee that baby bottles that contain bisphenol A are safe to use.

What is bisphenol A? Check out these two posts (this one and this one) from April for more background, but basically it’s a chemical used in certain plastics and the National Toxicology Program issued a report (click here for a downloadable PDF) a couple months ago said it was “possibly” dangerous.

Chaos ensued, parents got rid of their baby bottles by the dozens, Canada banned such baby bottles, legislation is pending in Congress and has passed in some states banning use of the chemical in children’s products.

In short, people just flipped out.

And why not? We’re talking about our future, after all.

So this week, Dr. Norris Alderson, the Food and Drug Administration’s associate commissioner for science, told a House subcommittee that it was safe. Alderson’s background, however, is primarily in veterinary medicine, so hopefully his information is not just his opinion, but based on scientific research.

An Associated Press article reported:

Some studies had reported higher release levels than projected by the agency [FDA], but many of those studies were conducted under unrealistic conditions, he said.

“Although our review is ongoing, there’s no reason to recommend consumers stop using products with (bisphenol A),” Alderson told a House subcommittee.

Dr. Michael Babich of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also pointed out that bisphenol A is used in lots of safety products, such as helmets and goggles, and without it those products might not provide as much protection, also for children.

Naturally, someone from the other side spoke up, too: Dr. Ted Schettler, director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.

And, whichever side the science is on, he did make a compelling point:

Do we wait for irrefutable proof of harm in people before taking action?

And that’s really the issue here.

How many times have we been told something’s safe only to have it pulled later because it turns out to be far more dangerous than originally believed? (DDT, Vioxx, to name just a couple that come immediately to mind.)

When we’re talking about our children, and there are options we know to be safe (glass bottles or bottles made of materials that don’t include bisphenol A), why take the chance?

P.S. The same subcommittee also is looking at the safety of phthalates, used to make vinyl soft and flexible. It’s used in toys, cars and medical devices. Dr. Earl Gray, a toxicologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, said he was concerned about children exposed to phthalates via IV tubes. Great, so children who already have health problems could be exposed to worse ones while being treated.

There are bills pending in Congress, according to the Associated Press, that would “prohibit the manufacture and sale of certain children’s products that contain phthalates.”

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Associated Press photo by Lisa Poole of Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow and BornFree glass baby bottles, which are BPA-free.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008 at 4:03 pm by Amy Vernon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: baby bottles, Bisphenol A, bottles